Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN, WILLIAM GERAINT OLIVER (1920-1995), Conservative politician.

He was born at Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Llandeilo on 2 November 1920. He came from a strongly Liberal family background. He was educated at Llandeilo Grammar School, the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Squire Law School). He joined the Royal Suffolk Regiment at the outbreak of World War II and rose to the rank of major. He also served in the Royal Marines during the war. He was called to the bar from Grays Inn in 1947 (Holt Scholar) and then served on the Northern Circuit. In 1972 he became a Crown Court Recorder at Liverpool.

He contested Merionethshire as Conservative candidate in the general election of 1955 and the Huyton division of Lancashire (against Harold Wilson) in 1959. Here he came within 2558 votes of victory in a straight fight. Had a Liberal also stood, he might well have won. He was the Conservative MP for Denbigh, 1959—83, when the seat was abolished in boundary changes. Morgan then resigned after an acrimonious dispute over the nomination for the new Clwyd North West seat. He was noted for very rarely making any speeches in the House during his 24 years as a member. His attendance record was also very poor — he usually put in an appearance only to vote or to attend debates of the Welsh Grand Committee — and between 1965 and 1973 he did not ask a single oral question in the House of Commons. It was said that for many years he refused to let the Tory whips know his daytime telephone number. Predictably, he never held governmental office. But he was regarded as a diligent constituency MP, always taking a keen interest in agricultural matters. He held regular constituency surgeries, usually in Denbigh's historic eighteenth—century town hall.

In the general election of 1983, he lent support to the Plaid Cymru candidate. In 1984, deprived of his seat, he resigned from the Conservatives and joined the Liberal Party. In the 1989 European elections Morgan urged support for Dafydd Elis Thomas, the Plaid Cymru candidate. Yet he never formally joined Plaid Cymru. He had served as chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary Party, 1965—66 and he also served on the Welsh Select Committee. He was a member of the Lord Chancellor's Committee (Payne Committee) on the Recovery of Judgement Debts, 1965—69, and was a member of the Investiture Committee of the Prince of Wales, 1968—69. He was a fierce opponent of CND and a supporter of capital punishment. A native Welsh speaker, he was received into the Gorsedd of Bards in 1969. He became a QC in 1971 and was appointed a County Court Recorder in 1972. He voted against British entry into the EEC on 28 October 1971. He married in 1957 J. S. M. Maxwell, and they had four children, two sons and two daughters. They lived at 13 Owen Road, Prescot, Merseyside. On Morgan's retirement from politics, the family moved from Prescot to Ulverston in Cumbria. Morgan died in hospital at Barrow on 2 July 1995.

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • Etholiadau'r Ganrif / Welsh Elections 1885-1997 , Y Lolfa, 1999;
  • Welsh Hustings - 1885-2004 , Dinefwr Publishers Ltd, 2005;
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion ,
  • The Times guide to the House of Commons , 1929, 1955, 1966 and 1979;
  • Daily Post , 5 July 1995;
  • The Daily Telegraph , 4 July 1995;
  • The Independent , 8 July 1995;
  • The Times , 6 July 1995;
  • Western Mail , 5 July 1995.

Author:

Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2008